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Baseball fan honors dead friend by flushing his ashes at Major League ballparks – A N I T H
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Baseball fan honors dead friend by flushing his ashes at Major League ballparks

Baseball fan honors dead friend by flushing his ashes at Major League ballparks


The sun sets on a Mets game in New York.

Image: Franklin II/AP/REX/Shutterstock

As far as stories go, this one’s a real pisser. 

A New York Mets fan is honoring a dead friend in most unusual fashion — by flushing his ashes down toilets in Major League Baseball parks across America. So far, he’s hit 16 ballparks.

The late fan’s name is Roy Riegel. He passed away in 2008. The surviving friend’s name is Tom McDonald. The New York Times recently caught up with McDonald, which is how this story — one as heart-warming as it is bizarre — came to light. 

Before we go on, here’s a passage from the article by Corey Kilgannon. 

“The game has to be in progress — that’s a rule of mine,” Mr. McDonald said one recent weeknight before entering a Citi Field bathroom, holding a little plastic bottle containing a scoopful of Mr. Riegel’s cremains.

He stepped into a bathroom stall and sprinkled the ashes into the toilet with as much decorum as the setting allowed. A couple of flushes later and Mr. Riegel’s remains were presumably on a journey through Citi Field’s plumbing.

“I took care of Roy, and I had to use the facilities myself,” Mr. McDonald said, emerging from the stall with the empty container. “So I figure, you know, kill two birds.”

At this point, we couldn’t blame you for wondering what exactly is going on here. But there’s it all makes sense! We swear. 

McDonald and Riegel were friends since childhood who loved to attend Mets games together, both as kids and as adults. McDonald recently retired from the New York City Transit Authority and loves to write poems about baseball — he’s penned some 3,000 to date, according to the Times and will read some at the Baseball Hall of Fame later this spring. 

Riegel, meanwhile, was a plumber. Which explains the flushing. 

“I know people might think it’s weird, and if it were anyone else’s ashes, I’d agree,” McDonald told the Times. “But for Roy, this is the perfect tribute to a plumber and a baseball fan and just a brilliant, wild guy.”

Now McDonald says he has enough of his friend’s cremains for one final act of remembrance. He told the paper he plans to travel to North Carolina to visit the ballpark where the classic baseball movie Bull Durham was filmed. 

You can imagine what will probably happen next. 

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Anith Gopal
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